MateBook E review: Huawei tablet offers a portable way to use Windows

Huawei Matebook E review. (Photo: HUAWEI)

Huawei is trying to grab the power of Apple with the release of its new MateBook E. This all-screen tablet offers most of the features you’ll find in an iPad like the stunning edge-to-edge display, rear camera, and fingerprint sensor but there are some glaring differences. First, the MateBook E runs on Windows 11 which makes it ideal for those who prefer Microsoft’s operating system rather than Apple’s more restrictive iPadOS.

Then there’s the keyboard case where Huawei actually bundles this accessory with this tablet rather than requiring you to go back to the store, get your credit card and pay more for a laptop-style experience. For now, they’re throwing in a digital pen and wireless earbuds for a good measure.

If you’re looking for a Windows device that offers some serious portability, the MateBook E sure ticks a lot of boxes, but what do you really like about using it and is it worth your hard-earned money?

Express.co.uk has put the Matebook E through its paces and here’s our full review.

Huawei Matebook E review.

The Matebook E has a rugged yet very boring design (Photo: HUAWEI)

Huawei MateBook E review.

When you first lift the MateBook E out of the box, it certainly can’t be described as exciting. Unlike the iPad, there are no glossy colors to choose from or stunning aluminum finishes to look at.

This one looks like it’s built for the office rather than having some fun with UK consumers simply getting a very boring Nebula Gray option to choose from.

The back panel is covered in a matte finish that looks nice enough but certainly doesn’t have the wow factor found on tablets like the new iPad Air – it’s also a fingerprint magnet so be prepared for some serious cleaning.

We may not be sold on the overall design but the MateBook E looks very well built and there’s no doubt this device should adapt to years of life down the road. However, it should be noted that the excellent finish makes it quite heavy as it weighs over 700g without the keyboard case and over 1kg once this accessory is added.

Huawei Matebook E review.

Matebook E has a great OLED display (Photo: HUAWEI)

By way of comparison, the slightly smaller iPad Air weighs just over 400g and that extra size is definitely noticeable. The design won’t win any awards from Huawei, but things really get better just by pressing the side-mounted power button.

Huawei has packed a gorgeous 12.6-inch OLED screen into this device and it shines like a set of freshly whitened teeth.

Colors emerge from this screen with content that looks bright and packed with great detail. Thanks to this OLED technology, you’ll also be treated to rich, deep blacks which makes watching endless Netflix and watching endless movies on Disney+ totally fun.

The screen is really excellent although if we had one problem it would be a 60Hz refresh rate which is nowhere near as smooth as the experience on devices like the iPad Pro. Bouncing things back to a 120Hz panel could have made a huge difference, and it’s a pity Huawei couldn’t include it.

Huawei Matebook E review.

Huawei Matebook E review. (Photo: HUAWEI)

Tucked under the hood of the MateBook E is an 11th generation Intel Core i5-1130G7 processor that’s definitely powerful enough to navigate the web, send emails, and hit your next PowerPoint.

However, this chip is nowhere near as boosting as some of Intel’s other brains and far behind the new M1 processor that Apple now includes in its latest iPad Air.

If you want a tablet for some serious gaming and heavy workloads like video or photo editing, the MateBook E might not be the best option, which isn’t great considering it costs close to £1,000.

As mentioned earlier, one of the features of this device is that it comes with a keyboard tray that is included in the box. This means you can quickly turn this tablet into a fully functional laptop – there’s even a full set of function keys and a trackpad.

Typing on this keyboard is excellent with plenty of button navigation and enough space for all your fingers to make sure your emails are accurate and free of typos.

Huawei Matebook E review.

Huawei Matebook E review. (Photo: HUAWEI)

Overall, it’s a good accessory although it’s worth noting that using it on your lap isn’t great as it’s not durable and there’s no backlighting under the keys which isn’t ideal for when the evening comes.

Other features on the MateBook E include a dual-lens rear camera if you want to take snapshots on your tablet as well as an 8MP front camera for the endless video calls we all make.

When watching movies, you get the sound through four speakers that sound decent enough plus there’s a headphone port if you want to plug in your cans.

The only other port included in the MateBook E is the USB-C charging jack which is fine but not ideal for those who want a PC compatible with HDMI and USB-A accessories.

Finally, let’s talk about battery life because it’s okay. You will get about 7 hours of gameplay with general use. However, pump up the screen to full brightness and things drain pretty quickly. We settled for an hour of YouTube content and watched the battery go from 44 percent to just 18 percent in the 60-minute period.

HUAWEI MATEBOOK E . Edition

There is no doubt that the MateBook E is a Windows tablet that can easily be converted into a mini tablet. The screen is great and well built and you get the keyboard case assembled as part of the price.

There’s also a fast fingerprint scanner, decent speakers, a headphone port and ample 512GB of storage for £1,000. To put that price in some perspective, a 512GB iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard Case will currently set you back well over £1,600.

To make things even more attractive, Huawei throws in a free M-Pencil that lets you scribble on the screen without using your finger.

There is a lot to like but we have a few annoyances including the 11th gen processor which isn’t the fastest, lack of ports and mediocre battery life.

The design is unimpressive and is quite heavy when compared to some of its competitors.

If you want a Windows 11 tablet that can be used for work and a bit of play, the MateBook E ticks a bunch of boxes, just be aware of some annoying annoyances.

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